One experience can change a child’s life. For Crystal O’Dea at age 10, a trip to see “CATS” on Broadway with her grandparents awakened a love of dance that continues to this day.
After seeing the show, she begged her parents to take a jazz dance class. That led her to Yvonne Brown Collodi. Yvonne recognized passion and talent in Crystal and encouraged her to take ballet and character classes as well. She became her mentor.
“I had a discipline and a structure. I learned that if I worked hard enough, I could succeed. Plus, the community of dancers was just really special to me,” remembers Crystal.
Crystal danced throughout high school and into college, developing a great love of classical and story ballets. She married an officer in the military and they moved every couple of years for 21 years. When they could, they attended ballet in different cities around the world.
“I’m really excited about the arts and I think it really comes across,” Crystal admits. “Six years in KC. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere in 26 years.”
MAKING KC HOME
Now that her husband has retired, and her daughter is attending the Kansas City Art Institute, they have put down roots in Kansas City. She was excited to subscribe and become a member of The Bolender Society. She even recently joined the Ballet Guild to meet others with a passion for dance.
“I’ve always been in love with the arts, especially dance and art history,” Crystal says. “Ballet is a way I can support the love of dance and share it with others. Now that I know we have a foundation here in KC and this is our permanent home, we can share that experience with people who have the same love for the arts.”
A memorable performance for Crystal was watching Balanchine’s Serenade this past fall. “It just hit in a different way seeing a live performance after such a hiatus,” she recalls.
It is her hope to see Kansas City Ballet reach more potential audiences. “People who’ve never seen a ballet often think ballet is not attainable or that they won’t understand it,” she says. “I want to foster that future generation to have a love of dance.”
INTERESTED IN JOINING THE BOLENDER SOCIETY?
Named for the beloved former Artistic Director Todd Bolender, who transformed Kansas City Ballet with his artistry and vision, The Bolender Society is Kansas City Ballet’s premiere philanthropic group. Members generously make a monthly gift of $200 or an annual gift of $2,500 or more. For questions or to become a member, contact Associate Director of Individual Giving Maya Collins at 816.216.5608.
Top Photo: Crystal O’Dea and her husband Bill Weaver. Photography: Mark McDonald